I grew up moving around the country. After graduating high school I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman, deploying to Afghanistan twice. Fast forward six years and I’m now a husband, father, Purdue University alum, and author of the novel “His Name Was Zach”. Learn more about me and my writing at His Name Was Zach.
“Get back on my pull-up bar!” the Drill Instructor yelled, his spit mixing with the sweat on my brow.
“This recruit can’t, sir!” I shouted back. I had already done ten pull-ups, only halfway to a max score but still many more than you might expect from a skinny, Indiana farm boy. I thought that was good enough, but I was wrong. The Drill Instructor seized me by the collar of my olive drab sweatshirt.
“You can’t?!” he screamed. “Is that what you’ll tell your buddy after he’s been shot by the Taliban and needs you to carry him to safety? You gonna apologize to him for being too weak to save his life? Your weak body is not an excuse! Get back up there!”
And so I did. The Drill Instructor’s words bored into me and tapped a hidden well of strength that I didn’t know existed, and they stayed with me for the rest of my enlistment.
The body is not an excuse.
The body is not an apology.
And if I allowed “I can’t do it” to be my mindset, then ‘the body’ is all I’d be once I got to the war.